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Vanity Or Practicality?


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The organ is there to help lead the worship and accompany the choir. The question should be (within money constraints): What gives the greatest flexibility in accompanying the choir and congregation?

 

To my mind, unless you can reinstate the organ chamber as an organ chamber (which sounds unlikely), the decision has been made for you.

 

:D

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That's exactly the problem - there is NO room anywhere. My preference, by far is to go far an instrument, rather than a substitute. No offence to those who like them, but I just don't enjoy playing digital instruments, whether pianos or organs. I never have - the physical sensation of playing is not the same, and the physical sensation of listening is definitely not the same.

 

 

Why not discuss the aspects of digital instruments that you don't like with the people that build them? You may help them to improve their product and your project and others will ultimately benefit from those improvements. As Phil T said, the most important thing is to have an instrument that does what is necessary for the available money. I am sure that the key to achieving a satisfactory result will be in the choice of loudspeakers and their positions, remembering that they are as much subject to the acoustic environment as pipes.

 

JC

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Why not discuss the aspects of digital instruments that you don't like with the people that build them?  You may help them to improve their product and your project and others will ultimately benefit from those improvements.  As Phil T said, the most important thing is to have an instrument that does what is necessary for the available money.  I am sure that the key to achieving a satisfactory result will be in the choice of loudspeakers and their positions, remembering that they are as much subject to the acoustic environment as pipes.

OMG, this is just like straight out of Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith, with John playing the role of Supreme Chancellor Palpatine trying to turn Anakin Skywalker (Adrian) to the dark side. John makes it all sound oh so reasonable and common sensical. Aaaarrrrrggghhhhh!!!! ;)

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OMG, this is just like straight out of Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith, with John playing the role of Supreme Chancellor Palpatine trying to turn Anakin Skywalker (Adrian) to the dark side. John makes it all sound oh so reasonable and common sensical. Aaaarrrrrggghhhhh!!!!  :D

 

It’s easy to say, but the head should make this decision, not the heart.

 

;)

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Why not discuss the aspects of digital instruments that you don't like with the people that build them?  You may help them to improve their product and your project and others will ultimately benefit from those improvements.  As Phil T said, the most important thing is to have an instrument that does what is necessary for the available money.  I am sure that the key to achieving a satisfactory result will be in the choice of loudspeakers and their positions, remembering that they are as much subject to the acoustic environment as pipes.

 

JC

 

I suspect the problem is going to be the lack of pipes.

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OMG, this is just like straight out of Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith, with John playing the role of Supreme Chancellor Palpatine trying to turn Anakin Skywalker (Adrian) to the dark side. John makes it all sound oh so reasonable and common sensical. Aaaarrrrrggghhhhh!!!!
I suspect the problem is going to be the lack of pipes.

 

 

The problem could be like the one at the Church I attend - a lack of organ! On the basis that "You can't get stand-in organists", we have to manage with a piano. There is also a ghastly hymn machine that makes noises appropriate for Halloween, but I have used my light sabre to deal with that and it now skulks unloved and unwanted behind a curtain. Life is full of compromises and a digital organ, while less desirable than a pipe organ, is not necessarily unmusical.

 

Supreme Chancellor

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The problem could be like the one at the Church I attend - a lack of organ! On the basis that "You can't get stand-in organists", we have to manage with a piano.

 

 

 

Salisbury Cathedral managed just fine with a piano while the Willison was out of use having its new console. I don't think it's necessarily a bad way to go at all in a parish situation.

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O come on, that's taking anti-digital predjudice just too far. Yes, we could fill in with a piano for a month or two during a rebuild, but its not really the right instrument to provide colourful accompaniment to our rich choral tradition and its hardly going to keep skilled organists satisfied for very long.

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O come on, that's taking anti-digital predjudice just too far. Yes, we could fill in with a piano for a month or two during a rebuild, but its not really the right instrument to provide colourful accompaniment to our rich choral tradition and its hardly going to keep skilled organists satisfied for very long.

 

And doesn't encourage new organists...

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Moving away from the idea of installation in this particular church, but rather to digital organs in general for a minute -

 

Ironically, I think that digital organs sound better in a big building, where they're less likely to be encountered as permanent installations - I had a tinkle (not literally, that would be silly, given the electrics involved) on the Rodgers that was in Gloucester for a bit, and the Makin in Lichfield in 2000, and both of these sounded not too bad, but the console was about 50 feet away from the speaker installations.

 

But, in a church with a smaller acoustic and dimension, where you can't get a sufficient distance away from the speaker installation to minimise the acoustic differences between pipe and speaker reproduction of pipe, I've usually found them unsatisfactory.

 

Paul Isom - if you're still lurking - I know you spent a lot of time on the Arundel Wyvern installation, and recorded a CD on it, which I have (Wyvern demo disc?)... What's your opinion? I listened to that CD in the car this morning, and thought that some of it sounded convincing, but that the 4' and mixture tones were a bit off (I can't put my finger on why). Do you think the CD is a fair reflection of the tonal work of the Wyvern that was installed? I assume it was recorded in a "normal" way - i.e. not an audio output straight from the console, but a mic somewhere down the nave?

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O come on, that's taking anti-digital predjudice just too far. Yes, we could fill in with a piano for a month or two during a rebuild, but its not really the right instrument to provide colourful accompaniment to our rich choral tradition and its hardly going to keep skilled organists satisfied for very long.

 

Sounds like a Christmas carol - and now we'll sing number 142, "O come on".

 

Choral tradition? We're talking tiny parish church here, which is where (as ajt just pointed out) most of these jobs end up. I can think of countless local situations where a piano would have been infinitely more satisfactory than the 3 manual electronic that was purchased (but nowhere near as satisfactory as the small 1 or 2 manual pipe job that was sacrificed to make way for it), considerably longer lasting and more reliable. I'm not sure a digital job will do that much to encourage new organists either - they usually make me want to give up.

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Choral tradition?  We're talking tiny parish church here.  I can think of countless local situations where a piano would have been infinitely more satisfactory than the 3 manual electronic that was purchased (but nowhere near as satisfactory as the small 1 or 2 manual pipe job that was sacrificed to make way for it), considerably longer lasting and more reliable.  I'm not sure a digital job will do that much to encourage new organists either - they usually make me want to give up.

 

I think that in general, small, good quality instruments are an acquired taste - for a start you need to have gathered enough experience to be able to tell a good instrument from a bad one. I for one, throughout my teenage years and probably later, would have preferred 3 mediocre but large divisions to 2 excellent but tiny divisions.

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... Ironically, I think that digital organs sound better in a big building, where they're less likely to be encountered as permanent installations - I had a tinkle (not literally, that would be silly, given the electrics involved) on the Rodgers that was in Gloucester for a bit ...

 

Which installation? (There were two at Gloucester, one on either side of the pulpitum.)

 

Strangely (and DB agreed with me) the Rodgers in the Quire (three claviers) did not respond to the acoustic in the same way that the pipe organ does there. On releasing a chord held on the full 'organ' the resonance was appreciably shorter and seemed less 'full', for want of a better description.

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Which installation? (There were two at Gloucester, one on either side of the pulpitum.)

 

Strangely (and DB agreed with me) the Rodgers in the Quire (three claviers) did not respond to the acoustic in the same way that the pipe organ does there. On releasing a chord held on the full 'organ' the resonance was appreciably shorter and seemed less 'full', for want of a better description.

 

In the Quire. As I recall, the speaker installation was in a totally different place from the pipes - I think they were in a stack in one of the transepts, but can't really remember.

 

I'm not saying it was as good as the real thing, but it was considerably better than any other installation I'd ever heard.

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Ironically, I think that digital organs sound better in a big building, where they're less likely to be encountered as permanent installations

There is no doubt in my mind that electronic organs sound at their most effective in a generous acoustic. Now I don't understand the first thing about the science of acoustics and from listening to my son (who is a Tonmeister and can bore for England on the subject - to Olympic standard) I know that reverberation is a frightfully complex thing. That said, I do know that bass notes take longer to decay than high ones and this is going to be accentuated by reverberation. I also suspect that the human ear is more discriminating in the middle to high frequencies than in the lower ones. So in an environment that favours the lower frequencies, a boopatron is going to sound that much more effective than it does in a dry acoustic. I think. I'm probably talking complete **** though.
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I saw the instrument in question today - a 1989 Copeman Hart. I have to say it was quite the opposite of what I expected. The console was superbly made and the keyboards amongst the nicest I have ever used (apart from the coverings), including tracker jobs. It was light years ahead of some of the new Allens and Makins I've played. Tonally, the mixtures and upperwork were by far the best bit. Not at all what was expected. I haven't seen a new Copeman Hart for years though - must look out for one - anyone know where I can see an example?

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Hi

 

Contact Copeman Hart & ask them where the nearest recent installation is!

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

 

David, quite possibly the nearest installation to you is in the chapel (ex-Nissen hut) of Sandroyd Preparatory School, Tollard Royal.

 

If you would care to contact the Director of Music, Mr. Clive Jones, he may be willing to let you see and sample its delights.

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Guest Barry Oakley
Sheffield Cathedral  B)

 

The Sheffield Cathedral installation (1992/3) was originally a Copeman Hart. Although the hardware - speakers and console - has been largely retained it has since been given Phoenix software which to my ears is not so satisfying as the Copeman Hart.

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The Sheffield Cathedral installation (1992/3) was originally a Copeman Hart. Although the hardware - speakers and console - has been largely retained it has since been given Phoenix software which to my ears is not so satisfying as the Copeman Hart.

 

I think the C-H instrument was 1999. Are you comparing the Sheffield C-H with the Sheffield phoenix, or comparing C-H and Phoenix in general? I heard the C-H on a couple of broadcasts and was very unimpressed - but I haven't heard the Phoenix.

 

JJK

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I saw the instrument in question today - a 1989 Copeman Hart.  I have to say it was quite the opposite of what I expected.  The console was superbly made and the keyboards amongst the nicest I have ever used (apart from the coverings), including tracker jobs.  It was light years ahead of some of the new Allens and Makins I've played.  Tonally, the mixtures and upperwork were by far the best bit.  Not at all what was expected.  I haven't seen a new Copeman Hart for years though - must look out for one - anyone know where I can see an example?

 

David, now that you're a toaster convert B) , an interesting comparison would be between a custom makin/wyvern/phoenix and a C-H. The former could be specified with decent keyboards (wood-core, like the C-H) and proper sound systems, and the price would still be well below C-H - sampling technology is inherently cheaper, especially now with low memory prices allowing storage of vast amounts of data.

 

As far as mixtures go, I am convinced that the important factor is the ability to adjust individual notes of individual ranks for volume and tuning . Not every system allows this.

 

JJK

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David, now that you're a toaster convert B)  , an interesting comparison would be between a custom makin/wyvern/phoenix and a C-H. The former could be specified with decent keyboards (wood-core, like the C-H) and proper sound systems, and the price would still be well below C-H - sampling technology is inherently cheaper, especially now with low memory prices allowing storage of vast amounts of data.

 

As far as mixtures go, I am convinced that the important factor is the ability to adjust individual notes of individual ranks for volume and tuning . Not every system allows this.

 

JJK

 

You mean latter, surely - i.e. Phoenix do wood keyboards, etc.

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